Ramen Jiro has dedicated fans, but this is verging on ridiculous.

Japan’s Ramen Jiro is famous for serving its noodles with so many toppings it’s become a genre of its own, inspiring other chains to follow suit with what’s now called “Jiro-style Ramen“.

▼ This is what you get at Ramen Jiro

With 44 branches around the country, the chain has a legion of dedicated fans throughout Japan, and they proudly call themselves “Jirolians“. Their love of Ramen Jiro is so strong that they’ll go to great lengths to eat at the chain whenever possible, and that diehard passion was on full display yesterday, when the branch in Tokyo’s Kabukicho went up in flames…and the Jirolians continued to eat inside as if nothing was wrong.

▼ This video shows the scene, which occurred around midday.

It’s not unusual to see steam billowing from the kitchen at a ramen restaurant, where there are multiple pots on the go at any one time, but what the video shows clearly isn’t the gentle type of steam you can see through while looking into the kitchen. Instead, this is thick smoke, and lots of it, because the restaurant was actually on fire, with one customer saying that when the fire broke out, the flames nearly touched the ceiling.

Rather than flee the burning building, the diners did the most unusual thing by staying seated, slurping up their noodles as if nothing was wrong. According to a customer who was inside the restaurant at the time, when the smoke began to accumulate, the staff didn’t say anything, and when the fire became evident, it was still business as usual, with about 15 customers present and staying in their seats.

While one customer said staff in the kitchen looked nervous under the smoke, it was only after the flames began to spread that staff gave customers instructions to evacuate. That’s when diners took their leave, and one Jirolian who had come from Nagano Prefecture expressed sadness in an interview with a news journalist at the scene, saying he’d been looking forward to the meal and only had a small portion left to eat when they had to evacuate.

Not being able to finish a bowl of Ramen Jiro noodles is a sadness that will strike a chord with Jirolians everywhere, but thankfully nobody was injured in the incident, with Jirolians and staff able to escape the building unharmed. The fire department was quick to arrive on the scene, bringing things under control within 20 minutes, and the Metropolitan Police Department says the cause of the fire appears to have been oil igniting during cooking. While igniting oil is something this ramen restaurant in Kyoto does for tourists, it’s not something this restaurant wants a repeat of, and police and fire officials are continuing to investigate the incident.

Source: Jiji, FNN via Jin
Featured image: Pakutaso

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